Two peasant children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, are led by Berylune, a fairy, to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. Berylune gives Tyltyl a cap with a diamond setting, and when Tyltyl turns the... See full summary »
Edwin E. Reed
While at an amusement park, two men try to win the heart of a young lady. They compete with each other while attempting to find her runaway dog, and they race to ask her mother's permission to take her up in a hot air balloon.
Nicky and Tacy are going to be married. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels--a trailer. After the two are hitched, they ... See full summary »
Leila Porter comes to dislike her husband James, a glue king who is always eating onions and looking sloppy. But after she divorces him and marries two-timing playboy Schuyler Van Sutphen the now-reformed James looks pretty good.
As the surviving partner in a gold mining enterprise, Joe Meadows has also been raising his deceased partner's daughter, Mickey. Now that she is older, Joe plans to send her to live with her aunt Mrs. Drake in New York. Meanwhile, Mrs. Drake is hoping to have her daughter Elsie marry another mine owner, Herbert Thornhill, in order to alleviate the Drake family's financial struggles. When Thornhill goes to California to check on his mine, he meets Mickey and becomes fond of her. Later, when Mickey goes to New York to stay with the Drakes, she finds herself in an uncomfortable situation. Written by
The zenith of Mabel Normand's career, and probably of Mack Sennett's as well. After things went sour between Mack and Mabel in late 1915, the Queen of Keystone departed her kingdom in Edendale, and relocated in New York to make a series of Fatty and Mabel films. On her return Mack pre-empted the queen's abdication, and met Mabel with the promise of her own studio, and funding to make a feature film. The film was to be called 'Mountain Bred' now known as 'Mickey'. Mabel put her heart and soul into the studio (a mile from Keystone), making it into a palace, resplendent with carpets and fresh flowers. Her dressing room was in a garden alongside the studio. Massive signboards proclaimed this as The Mabel Normand Studio. Problems were encountered with the series of directors Mack put in place, and he eventually agreed to Mabel's choice of F. Richard Jones, a young man mistrusted by Sennett.
This film is really superb, and was, as Mack intended, the movie that 'would make D.W. Griffith want to boil himself in oil'. Griffith's 'Birth Of A Nation' grossed a then record $15 million dollars against Mickey's $18 million. Mabel was at her very best in the movie, risking life and limb to perform amazing stunts at the behest of Jones he seems to have spent the next nine years attempting to kill her. Minta Arbuckle tried to prevent Mabel from performing hazardous scenes on days when she seemed far from well. Minta played the sister of playboy Reggie Drake (Mabel's future husband Lew Cody) whose mother is a conniving, money-grabbing eastern socialite.
When the film opens we find Mickey living in a remote mountain wilderness under the guardianship of miner Joe Meadows (George 'Pops' Nichols). As usual Mabel is a tomboy who enjoys horse-riding and swimming in mountain lakes, among other capers. When Joe loses patience with Mickey's antics, he gives her a stern lecture in their cabin, and shows her his belt. Mickey escapes the cabin with Joe's belt, and feeds it to the donkey.
It is while swimming one day that Mickey (apparently naked) is spotted by Herbert Thornhill, who is in the mining business, surveying the land. Mickey is courted by Thornhill, much to the chagrin of Joe, who realizes Mickey is no longer a child, and decides to put her with relatives, the Drakes. When Joe and Mabel arrive at the Drake's eastern residence, she is shocked at the sight of the huge mansion. When Mrs Drake finds Mickey has no money she is put to work as a 'slavey', but Reggie Drake is fascinated by Mickey. However, Thornhill, it transpires, has become engaged to Elsie Drake, but realizes his mistake when he finds Mickey at the house. In a nutshell, Reggie turns out to be a crook and a cad, while Herbert turns out to be a millionaire, who proffers bankruptcy to avoid marrying Elsie. Of course, righteousness wins through, and Herbert marries Mabel, whose inherited mine has come good.
There are some very good scenes in the film, such as where Mickey tells Minnie Ha Ha how Thornhill kissed her hand, sending her into raptures. Hazardous scenes include Mickey climbing onto a steeply sloping roof, and jumping onto a horse from behind, Indian style. The dramatic scene where a fast-running racehorse tumbles over, was filmed using a stuntman, but Mabel did break her arm falling from a horse in the backwoods. Mabel is simply delightful all the way through.
This film was made during a tumultuous time at Keystone. Mack was embroiled in multiple business disputes, and he lost control of the film. After filming 'Mickey', Mabel fled into the arms of Sam Goldwyn, and the studio was sold off. Mack pursued Mabel, sending lawyers to New York to re-negotiate her Goldwyn contract. Unfortunately for Mack (and us) Mabel accepted a $1,500 per week salary from Goldwyn (compare with the $13,000 per week Chaplin was then getting). The 18 films Mabel starred in for Goldwyn were not a patch on Mickey, although Mabel's name ensured they made money. Mabel's Mickey and Sennett films of the 1920s are so much better than those put out by producers Goldwyn and Roach. This is because Sennett was 'hands on' and not an absentee producer like the other two.
One of the mysteries of this film is the name change from 'Mountain Bred' to 'Mickey'. This might be due to Adolph Zukor taking over the distribution of Sennet's films in 1917. Zukor had a daughter with the nickname 'Mickey', and Sennett always bowed low before the mighty Zukor. If so, then what did Mabel think of this she had once threatened to 'brain' Zukor with a heavy book, and later wrote him an impertinent letter. Needless to say, Mabel never did not receive offers from Zukor's companies (e.g. Paramount) in spite of fatally sucking up to Paramount director W. D. Taylor.
Minnie Devereaux plays pipe-smoking Indian squaw Minnie Ha Ha. Minnie was a genuine Cheyenne Indian. When given a book about Amerindians, she threw the volume across the room exclaiming 'White man speak with forked tongue!' Asked to appear in a film about Custer, she simply spat on the floor and stormed off. Minta Arbuckle wears a large cameo in 'Mickey'. This has a picture of herself, commissioned by husband Fatty. Mabel also had one made, later worn by niece Mabel at the first showing of musical 'Mack and Mabel'. The famous full-length portrait of Mickey once hung in the Normand family's Staten Island home, but Stephen Normand tells that Mabel's trunk containing costumes and mementos from 'Mickey' was 'stolen' by friend Julia Benson and sold at auction.
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